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"Nashville Star" Review

By Shawn McKenzie 03/11/2003

A recent episode of “The Simpsons” wrapped up what I was thinking when I heard about USA’s new show, “Nashville Star,” which is that there is very few original concepts on television today.  The episode featured the show developers of a fictional network called the Reality Show Channel.  They needed some new ideas for their latest show, so they used little portable TV’s to flip around the tube for ideas.  I really think the producers of this show may have done this when they developed it, because it is so obviously a country version of FOX’s “American Idol” that they didn’t bother to change the title much.  The weird thing is that I don’t care that they ripped off Simon Cowell’s baby.


The first episode starts like a sped up version of “American Idol.”  They showed the audition process at radio station contests across the country.  There were good and very bad singers at all of them of course.  The contests whittled the singers down to a few hopefuls, who in turn were sent to regional finals in five individual cities.  Those cities were Los Angeles, Houston, Baltimore, Kansas City, and Nashville.  They were then introduced to the show’s judges at the regional finals.  The judges for this show are recording star Charlie Robison, record label insider Tracy Gershon, and country music journalist Robert Oermann.  The judges chose one winner from each city, and later went back over tapes and chose seven more to join the regional finalists, making a final group of 12 competitors.  Along the way, an assortment of country music stars will offer their comments on what it really takes to make it in Nashville, including creative consultant Clint Black.  Here is the unique voting process.  Each week, the judges will vote off the weakest singer at the end of the show.  At the beginning of each show, another singer will leave based on viewers’ votes.  So, for the first four episodes, two singers will be eliminated per show.  After that, it’s just up to the viewers.  “Access Hollywood’s” Nancy O’Dell will host the show every week.


Why don’t I care that they ripped off “American Idol?”  I think it is because I am a big country music fan, and I’d like to see a Country Idol.  One of the things that is original about this show is that while both “American Idol” and this show feature rounds with a different theme, this show has a round where the singers have to sing something they wrote themselves.  Pop artists don’t tend to be strong songwriters.  I love Kelly Clarkson’s voice on “American Idol,” but everything she has done so far has been written for her.  I believe singers who have songwriting abilities are slightly more talented than other singers are.

I will admit that your enjoyment of “Nashville Star” depends a lot on whether you like country music or not, but since I like it, I think I will enjoy this show.  I’m excited about the upcoming episodes, like the one where they have to do a countrified version of a rock song, or the one where they have to do a duet with a famous country star.  If you don’t like country, then you aren’t going to like this show, but as the only geek out there that does like country, I’ll be boot-scootin’ to every episode!

Get the CD featuring the twelve finalists from the show:

Buy this album at

Ratings System:


Try to catch this show every week...

If a better show is on, tape this one...

If nothing else is on, maybe this will be good...

If this show is on, change the channel immediately!


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